Cavatappi Pasta Recipe That’s Really Good

Cavatappi pasta recipes usually take a little while to make, just a heads up. The good news is it’s worth it and the overall prep is pretty simple if you’ve made other Italian dishes.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to put this thing together and have a great dinner.

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*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon and I get a really tiny commission if you go and buy something I’m listing below. I’m serious, it’s like, a really, really, tiny commission.

What It IsNameWhere to Buy
CookwareLarge potAmazon
CookwareLarge skilletAmazon
CookwareTablespoon/teaspoon measuring spoonsAmazon
CookwareMeasuring cups – at least a 1 cup and 1/2 cupAmazon
CookwarePyrex measuring cup for liquidsAmazon
CookwareMixing spoon for cooking pastaAmazon
CookwareMetal spatula Amazon
CookwareKitchen knifeAmazon
CookwareCutting boardAmazon
CookwareMesh strainerAmazon
Ingredient1 (16-ounce) package of cavatappi pastaStore
Ingredient1 tbsp canola oilStore
Ingredient3 tbsp’s fresh parsleyStore
Ingredient2 cups chopped onionStore
Ingredient1 tbsp chopped basilStore
Ingredient1 tbsp chopped thymeStore
Ingredient1 LB ground Italian sausageStore
Ingredient1 teaspoon iodized saltStore
Ingredient2 jars red sauce, 24 ounces eachStore
Ingredient1 cup half and halfStore
Ingredient2 cups shredded mozzarella cheeseStore
Ingredient2 tablespoons minced garlicStore
Ingredient1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheeseStore
Ingredient8 ounces of white mushrooms, chopped upStore

Let’s start off the cavatappi pasta recipe by cooking the noodles. You’ll be able to work on the other stuff while they boil. Fill up the pot with about 6 quarts of water.

filling large pot of water for cavatappi pasta recipe

Turn the burner on high, it’ll take a while to heat up. In the meantime, you’ll almost be able to prep everything for this cavatappi pasta recipe.

pot on stove

Following that, rinse your parsley in a mesh strainer.

parsley for cavatappi pasta recipe

Measure out 3 tablespoons of that and set it aside in a bowl. I also used a paper towel to get rid of most of the moisture before chopping it up.

parsley in bowl for cavatappi pasta recipe

Chop it up with a large kitchen knife on a cutting board.

chopping up parsley for cavatappi pasta recipe

Really get it chopped up good and then grab your basil.


Chopped that up after washing it and throw a tablespoon of it into the same bowl as the parsley.

chopped basil for cavatappi pasta recipe

Once that’s taken care of, get your thyme for this part of the cavatappi pasta recipe.


Wash that, too, and tear off enough of those little pieces for 1 tablespoon of them. Throw them into the bowl with the other greens.

tbsp of thyme

Next, grab your minced garlic and measure 2 tablespoons of that into the bowl with the greens.


Greens n’ garlic for the cavatappi pasta recipe

tablespoon of garlic into the greens

Next, take the white mushrooms and wash those off before chopping them up. I also dried them off with a paper towel before chopping.


Chop those bad boys up and set them aside with the greens. I needed another bowl for overflow.

chopped mushrooms for cavatappi pasta

Once that stuff’s ready, it’ll probably be about time to put your noodles into the pot if the water’s boiling.

pouring noodles into water

Once the pasta’s boiling (it’ll take about 10 minutes to cook, stir it frequently) start chopping your onions.

slicing up onion

Chop up two cups of onions and grab 1 lb of mild Italian sausage for this part of the cavatappi pasta recipe.

1 lb of Italian sausage

Following that, grab a large skillet. It’s gotta be really big, mine barely held everything in there.

large skillet

Throw in 1 tablespoon of canola oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Throw in your onions and the Italian sausage.

cooking meat and onions for cavatappi pasta recipe

That’ll take about 10 minutes to cook. Work the onions and sausage around with a spatula so everything cooks evenly. Then, put teaspoon of iodized salt in with the greens/mushrooms.

1 teaspoon iodized salt

Throw all the greens/mushrooms into the skillet after about 10 minutes of the onions and meat cooking.

cooking a cavatappi pasta recipe

Lower heat to somewhere in the medium-low range and let the additional ingredients cook for another 10 minutes, moving it them periodically with the spatula. The kitchen should be starting to smell pretty good by now.

cooking meat and other ingredients in a skillet

Once about 10 minutes has gone by, get the sauce and half/half for this part of the cavatappi pasta recipe.

pasta sauce and half and half

Pour the pasta into the skillet with the meat mixture.

sauce in skillet with meat and other ingredients for pasta recipe

Pour the half and half in there, too.

half and half being poured into skillet with pasta sauce for cavatappi pasta recipe.

Once that’s in there, carefully mix everything around for this part of the cavatappi pasta recipe. Be careful not to spill it over the sides. You can cut the heat after letting it simmer for a few minutes.

pasta sauce

Once your noodles have been drained in a colander (not pictured) put them back into the large pot, then set your pot in the sink and pour the meat sauce into the pot with the noodles. Be very careful at this part.

mixing pasta sauce with noodles

Mix the meat in with the cavatappi pasta noodles, be careful not to splash anything over the sides. Then, grab two baking dishes and start putting the pasta in them.

baking dish with cavatappi pasta recipe in it.

Once the pasta is in each one like the picture below, grab your cheeses.

cavatappi pasta recipe

Spread 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on each baking dish and try to cover all the cavatappi pasta noodles.

cheese on noodles

Once that’s done, cover each baking dish with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or over night.

cling wrap on pasta noodles

When you’re ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake this dish (uncovered, take the plastic off!) for 30 minutes. Once it’s done, let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

One more up-close shot of the baking dish:

A shot of this cavatappi pasta recipe in the bowl:

So, there is it, a cavatappi pasta recipe. Hope you enjoy it. There’s enough to feed an army, or, like, maybe 6 people with appetites.

Notecard version of recipe

Cavatappi Pasta Recipe That's Really Good

Recipe by BobCourse: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 pound of cavatappi pasta noodles

  • 1 tbsp canola oil

  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley

  • 2 cups chopped onion

  • 1 tbsp chopped basil

  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme

  • 1 LB ground Italian sausage

  • 1 teaspoon iodized salt

  • 2 jars red sauce, 24 ounces each

  • 1 cup half and half

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 8 ounces of white mushrooms, chopped up


  • Boil pasta, this takes about 10 minutes although it will take a while for the water to start boiling.
  • Saute sausage/onions in the large skillet, put 1 tbsp of canola oil in first. Do this for 10 minutes at medium-high heat.
  • Add mushrooms, garlic, herbs, and salt to skillet. Cook for 10 more minutes at medium-low heat.
  • Add pasta sauce and half/half to skillet, let simmer, mixing it all together.
  • Drain pasta noodles in a colander once they're done, then put the noodles back into the pot they were cooked in. Set the pot in the sink and pour the meatsauce into the pot from the skillet. Mix everything around in the pot.
  • Transfer the cavatappi to two baking dishes (unless you have one huge one) and spread 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of parmesan on each one.
  • Cover each dish with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  • When you're ready to make it, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered. Let cool for a minute or two before serving.


  • Full calorie calculation at the end of the article.

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Calorie Calculation

1 LB of noodles1600
1 LB of Italian sausage1570
Mozzarella – 2 cups640
1/2 cup of parmesan240
Pasta sauce600
Total calories4650
12 servings4650/12
Calories per serving (rounded)388